‘He changed stations and found a phone in talk show. The host and callers were discussing the upcoming Seatown elections. It was getting pretty heated.
‘One of my old teachers is standing in this election,’ said Mark. ‘A bloke called Pike.’
‘Aha,’ said Roy.
He slowed at a zebra crossing and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel as an old woman with a tartan shopping trolley doddered across the road.
‘I don’t follow politics myself,’ he said. ‘Which party is he in?’
‘GBIP,’ said Mark. ‘Not that I know much about them.’
‘They’re a bunch of tossers, I think,’ said Roy.
‘Aren’t they all?’
‘Probably. People put too much faith in politicians to sort out their lives.’
‘Aye. Life’s all about playing a bad hand of cards well,’ said Mark.
‘True, true Barney Mcgrew. Was he a decent teacher?’ said Roy.
‘A bit of a tosser, as I remember.’
‘Should do alright as a politician, then.’
‘Yep. A smooth career transition, that.’’
We’re all lying in the gutter. But some of us are staring at the spaces between the stars…
Seatown may not have a lot going for it – apart from the Roy Orbison lookalikes and Super Seventies Special every Thursday night, of course – but it is at least the place Mark Hammonds calls home. And after a decade away, it’s the place he returns to when he has nowhere else to go.
From dead bikers to dodgy drug deals, from one downbeat bar to another, from strippers to gangsters and back again: the luckless former musician bounces from one misdeed to the next along with a litany of old acquaintances, almost as though he never left. And if only he can shake off everybody who wants to kill, maim or otherwise hurt him, maybe he could even think about staying.
After all, there’s no place like home, eh?